How a Simple Life is the Good Life

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How a Simple Life is the Good Life

Simple and Free 

As we have launched into this new year, something that has really been laid upon my heart has been to simplify our home.  And, I know a lot of people start cleaning out and reorganizing in the new year, but this year has been different for me.  The heart behind it has been different.  Instead of just wanting more organization, less clutter, all of those things, this year for me, it has come from a heart of simplification, so that we can have more time to be intentional where it matters.  For, in the past, honestly my heart was mostly more in it for me to have a more organized house, but this year we have been able to give away more, and simplify more out of an intentional heart that as we have less, 1. we have less to distract us, and 2. we can have more focus on what matters.  

Little Boy Hugging Father's Leg

 

For me, this means getting back into reading scripture every morning. It sounds silly, but when I do not have everything set out and ready to go for the mornings, I simply will not take the time to open and read scripture.  It just doesn't happen.  So, this year I spray painted a beautiful tray from my mother in law, set it in the kitchen, and placed my Bible Study materials on top, using the bottom for organization of all the kids crafting supplies.  This has done 2 things for us.  First, it allows me to see my Bible each morning as I am making breakfast.  It's on my mind.  Secondly, everything I need to entertain the children so that I can do a Bible Study is right there as well. It makes it doable and easy.  And this is how simplification has gone in my house this year.  It has gone beyond, how can I freshen up this space and make it looker  cleaner to the eye, to how can I make this space more intentional for how I want our family to live this year?  And its working.  

gold tray with bible study essentials

 

Another big reason we have been simplifying is due to our adoption process.  We went through some online training as we prepare to bring a child from an environment of lacking to an environment of plenty when it comes to material things.  We were educated that even the aspect of a bath, fresh, clean running water in our home might be a lot for our child to take in at first.  They suggest that we simplify the amount of "things" we have in our home when we first bring our child home and that we gradually introduce things as our child adjusts to culture.  But, as I have been working on simplifying our home, I am also reminded of how much we do not need so many of the things we hold onto. Really, when we are stripped down,  I can fix my eyes back on the creator and remind myself of all the blessings we truly do have.  Thinking over the blessing of running water, clothes to fill our closets, food in the pantry, electricity, heat, the list goes on.  And, not that possesions are bad at all, but the heart behind WHY we need things at times can be.  I want to constantly live in a state where if everything materially was stripped from me, I could still know joy, because my emotions were not completely tied to them.

Bible and flowers

 

Materials Becoming Idols 

I was recently listening to a blog where she was talking about things becoming idols in our lives.  She then went on to say that anything that causes complete devastation for our lives in whatever facet has taken the throne of God in our lives.  This is not to say that we should not have grief, pain or hard seasons, for surely those will all be present in our lives, but I was able to think back over areas where I became completely devastated over something that should not have been.  The answer, I was putting too much trust in that thing and not trusting that God is sovereign and good and His plan is best for me.  He is above all the things. And I think that our view of God honestly begins in our homes, how we live our lives and the importance that we place on things that no one else sees. How we design and structure our home is becoming more and more important to me.  And not in the aspect that it needs to be "magazine staged", but rather that it is set up and intentional to make treasures of the gospel important.  For example, its important to me not only that I have an easier way to get into the Word each morning, but also that our home is easily designed to have people over, to be able to extend hospitality.  That we have a way to set up more than enough seats at our table, or a space to have friends over for a play date.  For none of this is truly ours, we are simply using what the Lord has given us, so I want to do my best to make sure I am investing it well.  

Image of simplified space in room

 

Simple and Less Stress

What I have found as I have simplified our home is that it has reduced the amount of stress in our home.  There are less toys to pick up and a better rhythm within our home.  I am certainly a person that tends to get stressed out.  As a type A driven, introverted mother it happens a lot.  BUT, I have started to try out 5 different things to help me reduce stress in my life, and over all it has been helping.  I even created a little PDF all about it if you too are someone struggling with simplicity and stress in your life.  You can find that resource here: 

I hope this week you are able to simplify your home, your life and your heart so that you can fully launch into the calling God has for you, His magnificent purpose filled with full satisfaction and joy.

Because truly that is what this is all about.  This is why simplicity matters, because it draws us back to our need of Jesus and allows us less distractions to be able to see Him more clearly.  I recently heard a person talking about how we may not be in a season of answered prayers right now, but instead, we may be in a season where the Lord is building grit in us.  This way, down the road we too can be of encouragement to someone else in our current season of life now.  So, to all my momma friends with littles, and really to all my friends, I so deeply believe that if we can start simplifying and finding ways to reduce stress in our lives, our faith and our callings will have more space to grow.  And this is what matters.   

~Rooting for you dear friends! I would love to know how simplicity and reducing stress is going in your life this week.  Tag me or chat with me over on your favorite platform!  Grateful for you! 

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~Laura 

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Embracing Life; The McConnell Family; Northwest Indiana Lifestyle Family Photographer

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Embracing Life; The McConnell Family; Northwest Indiana Lifestyle Family Photographer

Embracing Life for All Its Meant to Be. 

The page flips, 

You let your imagination wander.  

Birds are chirping, 

Squirrels nestling in, 

The drips of snow melt outside your window pane as you think back to the sunshine of fall.  

Heart stirring to big dreams and wide adventures, 

But then also remembering the simplest of things bringing the greatest joys.  

Life is full of one thousand moments a day, 

Constant movement of time, 

An ever passing continuum of events. 

And yet, here in this passing moment, taking it all in is the best place to be.  

Observant.  Present.  Fully paying attention.  

Feeling the kick of the small new babe growing inside the womb, 

Listening to the laughter as the little ones play, 

Calming a fight and having gratitude in the gift of life brought your way, 

Affirming a questioning heart as doubts and fears come your way.  

Attending to the deepest questions wandering within your head, 

To bring you back to the greatest truths ever told in scripture.  

Moment by moment, 

Day by day, 

Year by year, 

Fighting for Joy.  Living with Intention.  Embracing life for all its meant to be. 

 
 

Simplify. 

Do you ever feel as if you are missing all the moments happening right in front of your eyes because life gets too busy?  Or you are so caught up in maintaining everything in life before you, that is just begins to feel overwhelming, draining and unreachable for true rest?  Well, I have been right there with you friends.  Lately, I have completely let life and all of its demands take hold of pieces of my life, and what that has done is cause more stress.  So, I have started incorporating some tools back into my life to help me wade through the waters, back to joy.  It isn't always easy.  It is a constant fight, a choice, and a never ending battle to say, I am not giving up.  But it is oh so worth it! Below I have a guide I created with some of the tips that I have started incorporating that are helping me in this journey of less stress and more joy.  

 
 

Letter to the McConnell Family 

You guys, truly you are one of the smartest families I think I have ever met! But truly, there was such a sense of calm contentness among you.  I love you each take care of each other and open your arms wide to the needs within your family.  Each person turning to the side and being available for the one beside.  You truly are the most gorgeous bunch!! 

Aiden- You have the sweetest temperament and the kindest persona about you.  You can tell the wheels are always turning, you are observant and wise.  Slow to speak, but quick to listen. A trait I so admire.  I hope you never change sweet one, for you sure are a treasure! 

Finn- You are a caretaker through and through.  You love your siblings fiercely and make sure everyone has everything they need.  You take great concern for others, over that of yourself.  You are humble, and generous.  What a gift you are!! 

Kiera- Little miss beauty.  You have the purest heart and the kindest smile.  You are incredibly smart and so well put together.  The second little mother of the family.  There is also this joy that just spills over from you.  Your compassion is contagious and feel I could just sit in a room with you and soak it in for days.  Never lose your light Kira!  It is a rare thing to behold. 

Declan- Such a cuddler!  I love how much you adore and look up to your older siblings.  You love without regard and it is poured over in return.  Keep enjoying every second of this life! 

Eve- The spunk and life of the family.  You are going to be quite the leader one day.  You have a bold personality, and love the spotlight.  You are full of laughter, and ideas.  Your imagination runs wild, and I hope that only continues to grow and you lead generations with a fierce longing to change the world.  Never let go of that beautiful fire you have about you dear one. 

Sean- Stable and kind.  Your personality is so calm and humble.  You lead by example and with abundant generosity.  Your children love to be in your company and Christine is ever radiant with you by her side.  You give without reserve and love beyond borders. What a blessing to your whole family.  

Christine- I always knew you to be a giver.  From meeting you at Mops, and hearing your few but amazing inputs, I knew you were something special.  You are one who doesnt need to speak a lot, but when you do, my goodness everyone better be ready for a heartful of wisdom.  So calm and kind.  Yet, when I was able to witness all of your children, there with you, my goodness did it give me a broader perspective of just how wide your compassion and love for your family spreads.  Your children just simply look to you in full love and admiration.  You are the apple of their eye.  They fall into your arms, in full comfort and affirmation.  You build them up and provide the emotional security that they need.  And as for Sean, he beams as he looks at you, his beautiful bride.  You are the closing piece that keeps everything running, all things in order.  And yet, much larger than that, you bring continual hope, peace and an unconditional love for all those you come in contact with.  What gift it was to get to know you a bit through Mops and even moreso through our time together.  I will never forget. 

 
 

Figuring out the ebbs and flows of this life with you, 

Laura 

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Abiding within the healing; Anderson couples and portrait session; NW Indiana

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Abiding within the healing; Anderson couples and portrait session; NW Indiana

Abide in the healing

Let go of the hindrances, the burdens holding you down.  

Be fully present within the space you are currently in.  

Abide there, soak in the aroma of the atmosphere.  

Breathe it in deep, for healing may spring forth.  

Allow the sun to rest there, illuminating you thus more, filling with joy and overflow of the heart.

 Let it all go and experience the fullness of grace and presence.  

Complete presence, renewal, peace.  The overflow of the heart. 

We do not know the happenings of the future, nor shall we ever, 

It is beyond our capacity, 

And yet, we can know, as we abide, complete peace.  

We can rest in knowing that although we have hurts and struggles, 

Pain sometimes more than we can bear, 

Yet we can still trust that it has not been overlooked.  

It is in good hands, in the hands of our Father.  

And may we rest, as He knows the future, that it is for our ultimate good. 

And may we rest in knowing that joy can exist too, amongst the pain. 

It does not have to be one or another, 

They can exist together, in beautiful collision of each other. 

So may we come, abide with the one who knows us best, 

And then abide with those whom we have community with.  

Abide, around the table, in rich community, and rich healing. 

For healing happens from within to begin, 

And with friends to continue the healing.  

Today, I simply wish that we each find out space to abide, then heal in the spaces we each need.  

Abide within the healing. 

 
 

Blossoming Community 

I first met Elena several months ago through a creative group that I am a part of.  I quickly realized that we were going to become great friends.  Something about the way she carried herself, her overwhelming joy that just lit up the room from the moment she entered.  I knew she was someone special right away, and as I have gotten to know her more and more over the last several months, it has only further solidified all of my initial thoughts. 

But one of the things I most appreciate about Elena and am so grateful for is the way that she fosters community, fosters people being around a table together, spending intentional time with each other.  This day in age when our schedules are over crowded, and our heart and relationship space even more so, what a beautiful gift to cater people back to being with each other, with tasty food in front of them. 

Elena is a food and travel blogger.  And from what I have tried out so far from her recipes, her stuff is so so good my friends!  But the beautiful thing I love about Elena is her heart behind it all. She truly fosters joy at every turn.  And she is a living example that joy and hardship can beautifully collide.  Everyone's life has hardships and struggles, but Elena chooses joy over bitterness, community over reclusion.  She chooses life and light over death and darkness, and I think we could each use more of these choices in our lives! 

To find out more about Elena and her beautiful food blog, check her out here: 

https://www.savorparadise.com

 
 

Things are Better Together 

And one thing I have learned within my own life and journey is that things are better together.  Here is a little letter to Elena and Ben, about the cutest couple I have ever met! 

Elena and Ben: 

Oh my goodness you two!  Elena, I knew you were filled with joy, but when I met you Ben, I knew that you two were just perfect for each other.  Ben, you are so full of jokes, laughs and smiles all around.  The compassion, grace and kindness you show towards Elena is unmatched.  Always speaking highly of her and encouraging her on in all that she does.  Your words are seasoned with grace and love, a beautiful endearment for Elena.  And Elena, full of true kindness, and I will say it again, joy.  It flows out of you my friend.  It pours from your heart, and comes out through action. And you too are so quick to speak highly of others, especially of Ben.  You run first into his arms and enjoy the love that he brings.  You each fill each others cups with compliments and grace, stepping hand in hand together to each new adventure ahead.  And what a beautiful journey it has already been, hard in spaces, but beautiful all the more.  So, may the years ahead be just as beautiful my friends.  There will be valleys for sure, but may the mountains rise higher, and the inner joy fill the valley days.  May you be able to rejoice in each other, and rest completely in the grace that is there for you each day. 

 
 

Rest and Abide 

This week, and this entire holiday season, I hope and pray you are able to rest and abide, to slow down, get still and allowing healing to take place where it needs, and give yourself grace to not do all the things this year.  I hope you are able to spend time in wonderful community with your people and soak that in.  Rest and abide my friends.  Rest and abide.  Presents do not fill the soul, but presence with our Holy God does.  May we seek presence over presents this season.  

~Laura

And don't forget to check out Elena's Beautiful company Savor Paradise! 

https://www.savorparadise.com

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